I recently read Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I loved it. It has profound insight on almost every page (and paragraph!).
Consider this quote, where I wrote, “Hmm…” in the margin, which means, “I’m not so sure about this point, and I need to come back later to think about it some more.” (Click here for a post on how I mark my books while reading):
God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of Christian community, as if his dream binds men together. When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself (27-28).
Now, at first glance, we, as 21st-century, “Go take the world by storm for Jesus” Christians wave our hand and say, “Silly little guy.”
I’m not saying I agree with him, but I think he at least needs to be heard in our possibly-neo-triumphalistic, “Vision-casting-and-catching’, Dream-big-for-God, Take-the-city-for-Jesus evangelical culture.
Our Savior’s triumph was a crucified triumph, a vision of death-before-life, a big God who made himself a small man, who was killed by his city outside its walls.
Maybe Bonhoeffer overstates himself. And maybe that’s just what we need to hear right here and right now.